"Did you see that waiter? If you give him just a quick glance, he could be Sean's twin. Do it, just a quick glance, just real quick, do it, just... Just real quick!" It's getting sad, it's getting late. It's getting dark. Marlene's chair is empty; the waiter looked like a boy, not like Sean at all. Caffeine perks up, coursing through her, and in a moment Rebecca's the same girl she threw away a long time ago: All those men weren't her objects, they were her hopes, every time. She wasn't choosing sex over Cathy, she was choosing life. Putting herself in the worst positions, out of desperation. She's worse than Paul, these fantasies. Caffeine speaks, softly at first: "Rebecca?"
And again, fierce. Angry: "Rebecca? You need to go back to before you were straddling my brother on a washing machine in my house and he was just another homeless man, because he is not the guy for you, okay? And maybe there's never gonna be a guy, so you need to just give up on that version of your life, because it's probably not gonna happen."
Breathe, she's saying. Don't waste years on the dream I found wasted. It sounds cruel; she moderates her tone. Still angry, still fierce, but pleading now too. An ache Rebecca won't recognize yet: "And whether you know it or not, your life is pretty fucking great. You need to realize that, before you die and maggots eat your eyeballs out."
The hope runs out, like a breath. Rebecca goes white, horrified. Cathy used to be the optimist. It was Rebecca who was dark and cynical. But Cathy got it all, and Rebecca got nothing, and now Cathy won't even let her have that. Lotteries are a tax on stupidity. Wishes and dreams go sour in your hands if you can't make it work or you build them on sand.
But it's not about cynicism. There's no place for cynicism in Cathy Jamison, not when she knows how much love she has for them. She isn't bitter, this isn't a passport to anywhere but honesty. Righteousness is too bright to look at: It's a thing with armor, that crouches in the soul. She's not doing anything she hasn't done to Paul, and Adam, without them knowing. She'll do it again, and again, until her dying breath: It's the only thing that makes sense. Her harshness is only brighter truth, no matter how it cuts. Why else would Rebecca come to her, over the years and now permanently, if she didn't want a little of it? If she didn't want to be reminded of how bright and painfully the sun can shine?